Verdict in Murder of George Floyd and Vigil for Racial Justice

April 21, 2021

The George Floyd Memorial outside Cup Foods at Chicago Ave and E 38th St in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The George Floyd Memorial outside Cup Foods at Chicago Ave and E 38th St in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From President Sundborg: 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has spoken, convicting him on all counts. While the verdict is a step forward for justice and accountability, the movement leading to enduring change and true justice continues.

After three weeks of testimony, including the chilling video evidence, the jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. His trial now moves to the sentencing phase with his bail revoked and the likelihood of a lengthy prison term. The three other officers involved will each stand trial on charges of aiding and abetting Mr. Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

The verdict brings with it a heart-wrenching sense of relief, but does not erase the pain of the past and present that remains with us, especially Black Americans and all people of color. It is important that we recognize and acknowledge the emotional toll of this moment in particular for our Black students, faculty, staff and alumni.

As we hold the family of George Floyd in our prayers and in our hearts, let us recommit ourselves to honor his legacy with renewed energy in our collective work as students, faculty and staff for racial justice, equality and systemic change. This includes further reforms and greater accountability in policing. We are bound together in our common humanity and, as such, called to affirm through both our words and actions that Black Lives Matter.

Campus Ministry and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will be holding a Vigil for Racial Justice today from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. via Zoom at which Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Natasha Martin will be speaking. In times like these it is important for us to come together as a community in peace and healing.

As shared yesterday, Seattle University is committed to being a welcoming, inclusive, just and antiracist community. I invite all who are able to join us for the upcoming Racial Equity Summit on May 18, as we reflect upon the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the more recent killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and too many other Black and brown Americans at the hands of law enforcement and discuss additional steps we can take to realize our aspirations for Seattle U and a more just and humane world.

I am grateful for the many ways we are caring for one another during the challenging times of this past year. Please know I continue to keep each of you in my prayers.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.